The Long Weekend.
Disappointed that the 40th Great North Run was postponed subsequently postponing the planned Rugby ‘Try’, another challenge was born. There will be a group of eight making up the peloton who will be cycling 410 miles round Northern Ireland over three days, now called ‘The Long Weekend’.
Leaving the Royal Belfast Golf Club at 6am on Friday 16th October the peloton will cover 152 miles on day one by following the coast until Londonderry / Derry before heading south along the Irish border to Castlederg.
The peloton will then cover 145 miles on Saturday 17th October from Castlederg again following the border as much as possible before resting up in Warrenpoint for the night.
Sunday 18th October is a gentle 100 miles along the coast to Strangford before crossing Strangford Lough and continuing from Portaferry. The peloton will continue along the outside of the Ards Peninsula before arriving back before dark at the Royal Belfast Golf club where a couple of Guinness will be waiting.
Doddie Weir OBE is one of rugby’s most recognizable personalities. He earned 61 caps for Scotland during a successful playing career, represented the British and Irish Lions on their successful tour to South Africa in 1997, and won championships with his two club sides, Melrose, and Newcastle Falcons.
I grew up in Melrose and enjoyed watching Doddie play rugby at Melrose and was fortunate enough to play the odd game with Doddie.
A talented, committed, and athletic lock forward, Doddie is now facing his biggest challenge. In June 2017, the Scot revealed he was suffering from Motor Neuron Disease. From the outset, Doddie has been driven to help fellow sufferers and seek ways to further research into this, as yet, incurable disease.
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was launched in November 2017 and its aims are simple; to raise funds to aid research into the causes of MND and investigate potential cures and to support this affected by this devastating disease.
The vast majority of the funds raised by My Name’5 Doddie Foundation is invested into Motor Neuron Disease (MND) research.
“My attitude is that you should do what you can today and worry about tomorrow when it comes. This is the card I’ve been dealt so I’ve just got to crack on.”
Doddie wants to help those touched by MND – be it fellow sufferers or their families having to deal with the daily consequences – with basic and practical relief, whether that be to help with mobility and transport needs, with care and respite, or access and basic living requirements.
The challenge will be tough, but nothing compared to the everyday challenge Doddie and fellow sufferers of MND face.